Professional Development

In the 'ALA Annual' Category...

Chelcie at ALA Annual 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 8:22 am
San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge seen from the Golden Gate Promenade (June 29, 2015)

San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge seen from the Golden Gate Promenade (June 29, 2015)

Getting my feet wet with committee service (not, alas, in the Bay)

The overarching theme for my ALA 2015 was getting oriented to committee service. For the past two years, I have co-led an interest group on Preservation Metadata within the Preservation and Reformatting Section of ALCTS, which has been a great opportunity to educate myself on a narrow but pertinent subject for my work overseeing our digitized special collections. At ALA in San Francisco I led my final interest group meeting and began to serve on two ALCTS committees, which are less specialized but more broadly engaged in the profession.

This year’s ALCTS President’s Program Committee is charged with planning a day-long symposium at Midwinter in Boston, as well as the President’s Program at Annual in Orlando. The committee actually started meeting virtually before the official July 1 start date. I’m really, really excited about the speaker we’re inviting for the ALCTS President’s Program, but she (that’s your only clue) hasn’t accepted yet, so I have to stay quiet.

I’m also thrilled to join this year’s LRTS Editorial Board. As a newbie, my primary role will be to serve as a peer reviewer of submitted manuscripts assigned to me by the editor. I’m very much looking forward to participating in the process of developing our field’s body of literature from the vantage point of an Editorial Board. As a once-upon-a-time writing consultant, I believe that offering quality feedback ultimately makes you a stronger writer yourself.

ACRL Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group

As Susan mentioned, she and I both attended the ACRL Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group, a newly minted interest group formed in response to the proliferation of Digital Scholarship Centers at campuses all over the map. Joan Lippincott reported on the results of CNI’s Digital Scholarship Centers Workshop, a summary and synthesis I was fortunate to hear at the CNI Fall 2014 Membership Meeting. Also presenting were Zach Coble (Digital Scholarship Specialist) and April Hathcock (Scholarly Communication Librarian) — two people who fill roles very similar to mine and Molly’s within ZSR — about Digital Scholarship Services at NYU Libraries. It was heartening to hear that our Digital Scholarship Unit at ZSR faces many of the same opportunities and challenges as their unit at NYU. We have also developed a similar suite of services with similar staffing resources. Following our unit’s retreat next Monday, we hope to have a plan to clearly communicate our unit’s identity clearly and succinctly, internally and externally.

ACRL Digital Curation Interest Group

Since I’ve been attending ALA, I’ve been attending meetings of the Digital Curation Interest Group. In fact, it’s where Molly and I met for the first time! So it was a pleasure to be one of the presenters this year — on using BiblioBoard Creator to build online exhibits of special collections materials. Thanks to our friends at BiblioLabs, we’ve gotten to play with this new product for building online exhibits almost as soon as it was on the market. Consequently, we’ve been able to offer constructive criticism during a formative stage for BiblioBoard Creator. The story I was trying to tell during my presentation was (1) engaging audiences with institutional history on- and off-campus (2) engaging students in curatorial activities and (3) seeing ourselves as development partners with BiblioLabs, in the same way that we see ourselves as members of other, open-source development communities.

Building Library Exhibits with BiblioBoard Creator from Chelcie Rowell

Sarah at the APALA 35th Anniversary Symposium & ALA Annual

Monday, July 20, 2015 11:45 am

The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) celebrated its 35th anniversary with a daylong Symposium on June 25th at the University of San Francisco. ALA President Courtney Young and President-Elect Sari Feldman opened the Symposium. The keynote speaker was Valerie Kaur, civil rights lawyer and documentary filmmaker. The theme of the Symposium was “Building Bridges: Connecting Communities through Librarianship & Advocacy”. Over 100 librarians, presenters, community activists, and writers/artists/filmmakers came together to celebrate this milestone.

My term as Secretary of the APALA Executive Board ended at ALA Annual. I became well-versed in parliamentary procedures through monthly virtual Executive Board meetings, and I gave an overview of Robert’s Rules of Order for incoming Executive Board members at ALA Annual. I also served as Co-Chair of the Archives and Handbook Task Force and co-authored the APALA Operational Manual, which was approved by the Executive Board in June 2015.

It will provide a reference for the Executive Board officers and committee chairs on committee procedures and timelines as well as provide a better understanding of the organization for succession planning.

I have been a member of the ACRL Science & Technology Section (STS) Continuing Education Committee for 3 years, and we met on Saturday morning. I am continuing to monitor the STS listserv for announcements of upcoming conferences, including science librarian boot camps, and uploading the conference links to the CE Professional Development webpage. The Continuing Education Committee also co-hosts the STS Membership Breakfast, which I helped organize. We had a great turnout, and here are a couple resources that were shared at the breakfast:

http://insidescienceresources.wordpress.com

http://iue.libguides.com/STS-informationliteracyresources

I also learned about a new-to-me teaching methodology called the Cephalonian Method, which was used in the STS College Science Librarians Discussion Group with pre-canned questions on color-coded cards for the audience. The Cephalonian Method was created by two UK librarians to increase participation in the middle of class. I’m planning to use the Cephalonian Method in my library instruction and LIB220 Science Research Sources and Strategies course.

 

Carolyn at ALA Annual 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015 7:51 am

When I first heard ALA Annual 2015 was going to be held in San Francisco, I knew this was one ALA I did not want to skip. Having been once before with my husband at one of his conferences, I was excited to return to this beautiful, historic, and exciting city. Those three adjectives could not have rung truer than on June 26, 2015, the day the SCOTUS declared marriage equality for all to be the law of the land! Such a beautiful day!

Moscone Convention Center

 

Annual 2015 began with me attending my first ever all-day preconference, which was sponsored by ALCTS (Association for Library Collections & Technical Services), OLAC (Online Audiovisual Catalogers), and the Video Round Table. Video Demystified: Cataloging with Best Practices Guides presented attendees with an overview on cataloging video recordings using RDA (Resource Description and Access), MARC21, and the recently published (January 2015) best practices cataloging guides for DVD/Blu-ray discs and streaming media. Because most of my work is DVD cataloging, I found the preconference especially worthwhile and informative as this was the first officially (i.e. ALA, OCLC, Library of Congress) sponsored face-to-face training I’ve received on RDA cataloging. Most of my DVD cataloging with RDA education has been through watching webinars (not the most useful), utilizing an online guide developed by Stanford University’s metadata department (very helpful) and the RDA Toolkit, and review of the ZSR RDA Workshop LibGuide created by Leslie McCall as well as consultation with her and Steve Kelley to clarify issues with RDA. Attendees participated in guided exercises and took home a workbook that contained all of the day’s presented PowerPoint slides.

While at ALA, I attended 4 ACRL Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) sponsored meetings/sessions: the Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee (SBAC) of which I chair; the Executive Committee meeting; the Libraries behind Bars: Education and Outreach to Prisoners program that was co-sponsored with ACRL’s Law and Political Science Section (LPSS) and Literatures in English Section (LES); and the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. I was unable to attend the ANSS Social due to having to attend the editorial board dinner for Technical Services Quarterly (TSQ); Steve Kelley and I are the new co-editors of the journal’s book reviews column. We dined at the Stinking Rose: a Garlic Restaurant, where I got to try delicious garlic ice-cream (another first).

Social Justice Librarianship: Focus on Ferguson & Black Lives Matter was the topic discussed at the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. Librarians Makiba Foster (Washington University in St. Louis) and Niamh Wallace (University of Arizona) spoke about their roles as academic librarians in helping the Black Lives Matter movement.

Observing a lack of quality information and misinformation pertaining to the police shooting of Michael Brown and the events taking place in Ferguson, Missouri, Ms. Foster created the FaceBook page Resource List on Policing and Community Protest which contains specific categorized lists for a variety of topics (e.g. policing, grief & trauma, community protest & unrest, personal rights, and local community organizations). Two weeks after its posting, the university gave the green light to post it as a LibGuide. The digital repository Documenting Ferguson (DF) followed. The DF project team was comprised of members from several library units (e.g. special collections, copyright, reference, etc.) who wanted to assist in the preservation of their regional and national history. Ms. Foster’s role was to seek out community engagement for content. She partnered with an African American Women’s History professor whose sophomore seminar students (1/2 her class) developed interview questions and conducted oral histories of individuals living in Ferguson or the areas particularly affected by the protests and unrest, many of whom worked at the university. Specific community activists were interviewed also. Interviewees were selected based on their response to a faculty call out by the library, each signed a participant consent form. The oral histories captured in the digital repository include the interviewees’ names so that researchers would know that all persons interviewed actually lived in Ferguson. Ms. Foster admitted that content from the oral histories was one-sided as individuals with opposing views (i.e. supporters of Darren Wilson) were not interviewed for the project. She also stated that some people wanted no association with the DF project due to potential backlash, although they were proud to be working on the project. The digital repository for this particular project is semi-anonymous as some participant uploaded content is traceable only by an email address. Digital stations are being set up to capture images. There is a need to employ one person working solely on this large project, and grant funding is being investigated She closed by saying that the library will soon be preparing for 1 year memorials and commemorative events; a regional meeting is in the works to discuss collecting efforts; and marketing strategies to increase participation will be reassessed.

At Ms. Wallace’s institution, she also created a LibGuide to Ferguson resources for instructional purposes. Consent from the university’s IRB was unnecessary. Liaisons whose subject areas were relevant to the creation of this resource were asked to solicit feedback from their faculty. The LibGuide was used as a resource listing for a Black Life Matters Conference held on campus this past January. No negative feedback was received, and Ms. Wallace stated that she is not trying to capture opposing viewpoints in this research guide. More work is being done to update the guide with information about the recent June 17th church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

Other sessions I attended included

  • Maryanne Wolf’s Lessons from the Reading Brain: 3 Short Stories about Deep Reading in the Digital Age, which Lauren so aptly covered in her blog post
  • 2 sessions on linked data: Getting Started with Library Linked Open Data: Lessons from UNLV and NCSU, on which Lauren again reported, and the Linked Library Data Interest Group. The interest group session was comprised of a panel of 2 speakers. Kristi Holmes (Northwestern Medicine) provided an overview on the Cornell-developed open source semantic web application, VIVO, was presented. VIVO harvests data from verified institution data sources, and allows institutions to showcase their researchers’ credentials, expertise, and skills. A VIVO institution’s library can provide its faculty product education, training, and adoption utilizing liaison outreach, ontology and controlled vocabulary expertise, negotiating with data providers, programming and technical expertise. Cornell’s Steven Folsom reported on the Linked Data 4 Libraries Mellon funded grant between Cornell, Stanford and Harvard. One can search for works by individuals and discover additional works of interest based on connections to other people. Utilization of URIs in MARC records that align with VIVO can enhance an academic library’s catalog. Cornell has rolled out an authority browse in their Blacklight catalog. Using 3xx field data in his authority file generates data and provides context about him and what what he does professionally. Theses advisors’ names appearing in a MARC 700 Personal Name field can now be enhanced with VIVO URIs. A post-processor to provide entity resolution of URIs is required for the evolving BIBFRAME. A limit of its ontology, this means that linked data within the BIBFRAME platform cannot have multiple URIs for an individual. BIBFRAME RDF still makes heavy use of strings which are a dead end for linked data.
  • Resource Discovery in the Age of Wikipedia: Jake Orbwitz and Alex Stinson, both of The Wikipedia Library, shared reasons why Wikipedia matters for librarians and various ways in which librarians can become involved in Wikipedia. In addition to adding information and citations from a library’s collections, librarians can teach “Wikipedia as a Starting Point” workshops, run an editathon, and donate images. Libraries can also sponsor a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar to create quality content for Wikipedia using their individual institution’s resources.

After my last Monday session at ALA, Lauren, Derrik and I took a bus to tour the Internet Archive (IA) founded by Brewster Kahle. Housed in a former Christian Science church, the IA’s mission and purpose is to provide free access to collections of digital materials. The Wayback Machine, a digital archive of the World Wide Web, was created by the IA. Such an impressive place and leader.

Brewster Kahle stands in front of the Internet Archive’s server, which is housed in the church sanctuary.

Touring the basement of the IA with Brewster. In the background, IA employees digitize video materials

Clock in IA basement.

Hanging in the IA's basement is an animation cel of Mr. Peabody and Sherman and their WABAC Machine, which was used to transport the two back in time to visit important, historic events.

Hanging in the IA’s basement is an animation cel of Mr. Peabody and Sherman and their WABAC Machine, which was used to transport the two back in time to visit important, historic events.

In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful dinner organized by Susan of past and present ZSR colleagues. It was great catching up with Lauren Pressley and Erik Mitchell, and Erik’s partner Jeff Loo. Also worth mentioning is the fabulous final dinner in San Francisco that Susan and I had at Burma Superstar. All in all this was a great ALA, and I hope I get another chance to visit San Francisco in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kyle’s ALA 2015

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 5:10 pm
The Internet Archive: IRL

The Internet Archive: IRL

My ALA conference started with an unconference that presented the lens through which I was to view almost everything else that happened in San Francisco. This is going to be more of a thematic post than a play-by-play. Stay with me here.

#critlib: context and an unconference

One of the most interesting things I’ve been following for the past year or so has been the emerging community that’s calling itself #critlib, short for critical librarianship, which meets every other Tuesday on Twitter under that hashtag (more about the chats here and here). In these chats, participants wrestle with the concept of critical librarianship, which, for the purposes of this post, I’ll paraphrase as the application of critical theories to library practice: challenging racial, gender, socioeconomic, and other structural inequalities through the work we do as librarians (more about critical librarianship here, and check out the Zotero group if you want a deeper dive). The energy from this group is refreshing and relevant, especially in light of Ferguson and Charleston. (You might have heard of #charlestonsyllabus. You might not know that it was a few #critlib people who helped put it together.)

Anyhow, as a white male raised in a middle-class family, I have more to learn from this discussion than to add to it. When I heard that there was going to be a #critlib unconference on the Friday of ALA, I signed up immediately. About 100 of us gathered in the Gleeson Library on the beautiful hilly campus of the University of San Francisco for a full day of lively discussion. Being an unconference, there was no facilitator for any of the breakout sessions (the rule of the day was “there are no experts”). In the first round, I decided to make myself somewhat uncomfortable and attend a session called “Working in the patriarchal library/why are all my administrators dudes?” It’s really no secret that there is a disproportionate number of male administrators in this female-dominated profession, which I’ve always felt weird about. But since I might one day decide to pursue library administration, I wanted to learn about the things that I should pay close attention to in order to avoid being one of “those” male administrators. The key advice from the others in the room: listen more than you speak, and use your privilege to give voice to those being marginalized.

LITA, all-male panels, and responsibility

I was confronted almost immediately with what I’d learned at the unconference. As a member of LITA’s Program Planning Committee, I was asked to introduce a panel and do some general LITA hype work. I showed up to the panel, read my piece, and took a seat to hear what the panelists had to say. Then I looked at the panel. Five middle-aged white dudes talking about library technology, introduced by an (almost) middle-aged white dude representing a library technology association. The panel was great, but I couldn’t help but think of the message the makeup of the panel was sending.

Later that same day, I was set to present as part of my own panel–this one on library support for MOOCs. The organizer hadn’t provided me with a lot of detail ahead of time, so I showed up without any knowledge of who else would be on the panel. Sure enough, I was part of my very own all-male panel. It was like a punch to the gut.

Had these things happened just a week earlier–before my unconference experience–I wouldn’t have thought twice about them. I’ve presented on all-male panels before. I’ve attended plenty of them. The takeaway, for me, is that being aware that male voices are dominating certain conversations makes me responsible, inasmuch as I’m able, to use my privilege and my position on planning committees to ensure that a diversity of voices get to be heard. That means encouraging panel organizers to seek out additional voices. That means organizing diverse panels of my own. That means turning down invitations to speak if it’s clear that I’m just another dude voice in a sea of dude voices.

Plenty of awesome things

Phew!

As personally challenging as much of my conference was, there were still plenty of awesome things to bring home:

  • Not surprisingly, lots of folks were talking about the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. One particularly interesting panel introduced me to Champlain College’s stellar inquiry-based IL program. There are really too many good things to say about it here, but I was very impressed with the fact that they eschew teaching tools in favor of wrestling with “big picture” questions related to certain frames. And check out that curriculum map! I do love me a good curriculum map.
  • Flipping the one-shot was another motif I saw pop up a few times. Librarians at the University of Central Florida are having their students complete online tutorials before coming to their one-shot sessions, which they’re now using for more active learning.
  • I got to check out the Internet Archive (yes, their physical location!) They hosted a little open house with tours and demos. I took some photos. It was fun.
  • I got to meet Dan Russell, he of Power Searching with Google fame. The Power Searching course was the biggest inspiration for creating our first ZSRx course, and to see Dan in attendance at my panel was a little surreal. Very smart, very passionate guy.
  • San Francisco puts on awesome parades.

So that’s it! This turned out to be a much longer post than I’d anticipated, but if you’ve read this far, I hope you’re able to take something away from it.

 

ALA 2015

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 3:31 pm

In case I’d been longing for parades (turns out I had), a confluence of well-known events made the 2015 ALA Annual Conference the perfect place to be. How do New Orleans and San Francisco parades compare, you ask? San Francisco parades involve less alcohol; more illegal-smelling smoke; smaller floats; fewer thrown objects; and more daytime nudity (not pictured).

The first session I attended was put on by the Cataloging Norms Interest Group of ALCTS. Nancy Fallgren of the National Library of Medicine gave an update on NLM’s BIBFRAME pilot project, which has been underway for some time. BIBFRAME Lite is an experimental set of core elements meant to be used in the new encoding framework, and NLM is working on mapping from MARC, Dublin Core, and other non-MARC legacy formats to BF Lite. However, Ms. Fallgren emphasized that their primary focus is on creation of new metadata using BIBFRAME, not conversion. A print monograph BIBFRAME mockup is viewable here.

At the same session, Roman Panchyshyn from Kent State talked about the non-stop nature of change experienced by technical services staff in the 21st Century. Managing change has become a key function for managers in technical services departments. Traditional breakdowns between acquisitions, cataloging, serials, etc. are disappearing. This trend, I think, is reflected here in Resource Services at ZSR. Mr. Panchyschyn identified eight skills/competencies that all technical services staff need to possess in order to keep up. I won’t list all of them here (full list available upon request), but suffice it to say they are metadata-centric, linked data-oriented, and future-looking. Liberal use of hyphens, sadly, isn’t one of them.

Still at the same session, Diane Hillmann from Syracuse speculated as to whether libraries will retain their legacy metadata once conversion to BIBFRAME is complete. She concluded that this is advisable; storage is relatively cheap, and you never know when you might need the data again. “Park the MARC,” she advised, wisely I think. As to whether we are making the right choice in moving toward BIBFRAME, Ms. Hillmann said that this is a moot question: there is no one right choice, and in future we will need to be multiply conversant as metadata takes on new forms and different libraries and other cultural heritage communities decide to go in divergent directions. This is part of the promise of BIBFRAME: it is to be flexible, extensible, and adaptable.

Believe it or not, I did go to other sessions and meetings. Later on Saturday I met with my ALCTS Acquisitions Section Organization and Management Committee, and on Sunday I met with my division-level ALCTS Planning Committee, where we continued to work on a three-year ALCTS strategic plan, with new emphasis on how best to track progress on that plan once it is in place. My work on the Planning Committee has provided a broad view of ALCTS as a whole – its different divisions, its reporting structure and micro-cultures, and its direction. I’ve only completed one year of a three-year term, so I have more enlightenment to look forward to, as my power and influence grow daily.

Roy Tennant from OCLC gave a fun presentation titled “Ground Truthing MARC,” in which he made a worthy comparison between the geographical process of ground truthing and the value of analyzing the existing MARC record landscape before we move to convert it en masse. He has been performing some interesting automated analyses of the ridiculously huge universe of records present in OCLC’s database, and found some interesting (if not surprising) results. A relatively small number of tags (100, 245, etc.) make up the vast majority of instances of populated subfields in OCLC; whereas hundreds of tags are used only infrequently and, all told, constitute a very small percentage of the data in OCLC. This type of analysis, he believes, will be essential as we start to think about mapping OCLC’s data into a BIBFRAME environment.

In other presentations, Amber Billey from the University of Vermont made an interesting case that in requiring NACO-authorized catalogers to choose between “Male,” “Female,” and “Not known” when assigning gender to an authority (RDA Rule 9.7), LC is expressing a false and regressively binary conception of gender. She and others have submitted a fast-track proposal that “Transgender” be added as an additional option; this proposal would seem to have merit. Joseph Kiegel from the University of Washington and Beth Camden from Penn discussed their libraries’ experiences migrating to the Ex Libris Alma and Kuali Ole ILS’s, respectively. In such migrations technical support is essential, whether provided by the system vendor or (as in the case of an open-source system like Kuali Ole) a third-party company that contracts to provide support.

On the last day, Corynne McSherry from the Electronic Frontier Foundation discussed several important copyright-related legal cases from the last year, including Authors Guild v. Hathitrust, Authors Guild v. Google, and Cambridge University Press v. Patton. The EFF is seeking a Digital Millennium Copyright Act exception for circumventing access-restriction technology in no-longer-supported video games so that archivists can preserve them, as these games are an important part of our cultural heritage. This was an entirely new topic to me and caused me to think back fondly on the days when Halo was young and I was too, when video games weren’t things to preserve, but to play. I suppose that preservation is the next-best thing.

Lauren at ALA 2015 in San Francisco

Thursday, July 2, 2015 5:13 pm

It probably seemed like everyone was talking about linked data because that was the focus of most of the sessions I attended.

One of the more interesting ones was the Library of Congress BIBFRAME Update Forum, because in addition to Sally McCallum and Beacher Wiggins of LC, they had speakers from Ex Libris, Innovative Interfaces, SirsiDynix, Atlas (think ILLIAD and ARES), OCLC, and Zepheira. At this stage, I think they were all trying to reassure clients that they will keep up with change. I took more notes on Ex Libris than the others since we’re a current customer: After some prologue on revolution vs evolution, Ido Peled, VP, Solutions and Marketing, said, that moving to a native linked data catalog is more revolutionary and Ex Libris is more comfortable with evolution. But I thought he gave more concrete evidence of readiness for linked data than the others because he said ALMA was built to support MARC and Dublin Core already and that Primo Central is already in RDF format, using JSON-LD. He also emphasized the multi-tenant environment and said, “Technology isn’t the focus. The focus is outcomes.” Because linked data includes relying on the data of others and interlinking with your own data, the “multi-tenant” environment concept made sense suddenly and helped me understand why I keep hearing about groups moving to ALMA, like Orbis-Cascade. I’ve also heard from individuals that it hasn’t been easy, but when is a system migration ever easy?

I also attended “Getting Started with Linked Open Data: Lessons from UNLV and NCSU.” They each worked on their own linked data projects, figuring out tools to use (like OpenRefine) and work flows. Then they tested on each other’s data to help them refine the tools for use with different future projects and for sharing them broadly in the library community. They both said they learned a lot and made adjustments to the tools they used. I got a much better sense of what might be involved in taking on a linked data project. Successes and issues they covered reminded me of our work on authority control and RDA enhancement: matches and near matches through an automated process, hits and non-hits against VIAF, cleaning up and normalizing data for extra spaces, punctuation, etc. In fact this session built well on “Data Clean-Up: Let’s Not Sweep it Under the Rug,” which was sponsored by the committee I’m on with Erik Mitchell, the ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee. I got a good foundation regarding use of MARCedit and OpenRefine for normalizing data to eliminate spaces and punctuation. While I knew regular expressions were powerful, I finally learned what they can do. In one example, punctuation stemming from an ampersand in an organization name caused data to become parsed incorrectly, breaking apart the name of the organization every time for the thousands of times it appeared. A regular expression can overcome this problem in an automated way — there’s no need to fix each instance one by one. (Think in terms of how macros save work.)

The ALCTS President’s Program: Three Short Stories about Deep Reading in the Digital Age featured Maryanne Wolf, Director, Center for Reading and Language Research and John DiBaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University. It was interesting to learn from her that brains weren’t designed for reading — think about cave men and their primary goals, which didn’t include reading. She gave a great overview of the development of language and reading and incidentally showed that those who operate in CJK languages have different parts of the brain lighting up than those of us who operate in other languages. This was all foundation leading up to how the brain operates and the effects of reading on the screen. The way we read on a screen results in the loss of certain abilities like reflection and creating connections. She measured that it takes time to regain those abilities too. She isn’t by any means anti-electronic though — she’s doing interesting work in Ethiopia with kids learning by using tablets. We’ll have to get her forthcoming book when it is finished!

I also attended committee meetings, met with vendors, networked, and got to catch up with former colleagues Erik Mitchell and Lauren Pressley over a dinner that Susan organized. (Thanks, Susan!) I especially enjoyed catching up with former colleagues Charles Hillen and Ed Summers, both dating back to my days at ODU in Norfolk, Virginia. Charles now works for YBP as Director of Library Technical Services and Ed just received the Kilgour Award from LITA/OCLC. Thanks to Ed, I got to meet Eric Hellman, president of the company that runs Unglue.it. And thanks to WFU Romance Languages faculty member Alan Jose, who mentioned the idea, I went Monday afternoon with Derrik and Carolyn to visit the Internet Archive offices, where we met Brewster Kahle. The volume the organization handles is mind-blowing! Kahle says they only collect about 40 TV channels right now and it is not enough. They have designed the book digitization equipment they are using (and selling it at a reasonable price too). They have people digitizing reels of films, VHS, and audio, but Kahle says they’ve got to come up with a better method than equipment using magnetic heads that are hard to find. Someone is working on improving search right now too. Some major advice offered was to learn Python!

 

Derrik at ALA 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015 3:51 pm

Since I am still serving on the ALCTS Standards Committee, I’ll start my ALA report talking about one standard (sort of) that you’ve probably heard of, and two you’re probably less familiar with.

BIBFRAME (heard of it?) – I attended a presentation describing results from converting serials catalog records from MARC into BIBFRAME. I didn’t catch the name of the conversion software, but the presenter was from UC-Davis. Disclaimer: This session reminded me that my cataloging skills have gotten rusty, so I’m not sure I can describe this very well. First of all, she pointed out that most libraries will have MARC records following several different sets of cataloging rules—for example, pre-AACR2, AACR2, & RDA. If I understood correctly, the ISSN, title fields (210, 222, 245), and previous/subsequent title fields (780/785) all transferred fairly well into BIBFRAME. The converter ran into trouble with the older “latest entry” catalog records, which list a serial’s entire title-change history on a single record, because RDA considers each separate title to be a Work, but the conversion software migrated them as Instances. The older date range format also caused problems, because the software interpreted the first issue’s volume number (correctly) as the first issue, but then it interpreted the first issue’s date as the last issue. The speaker also raised the question of how to handle local adaptations when converting to BIBFRAME. The work of analysis and evaluation continues.

ODI – I heard Marshall Breeding speak about NISO’s Open Discovery Initiative (ODI), which lays out ways to improve interoperability of discovery systems with other database products. Breeding discussed the history of “discovery” products (like Summon) and some of the associated challenges. ODI seeks to alleviate some of the problems by providing a recommended structure for data exchange, covering data formats, method of delivery, usage reporting, updates, etc. Breeding acknowledged that index-based systems will never be “done,” but the ODI standard will help add some needed transparency and will provide a framework for evaluating discovery systems. His final thought was that “we need discovery systems that both users and librarians will love … but that’s not going to be easy.”

PESC – The Protocol for Exchanging Serial Content (PESC) is a very newly-published NISO Recommended Practice (published less than a week ago). It provides a recommended structure for transmitting serial content. The speaker pointed out that sending and receiving files is not very complex when it’s one sender and one receiver. But PESC aims to bring order to the chaos of many senders and many receivers. For example, a publisher may send content to EBSCO, ProQuest, JSTOR, Portico, and other receivers, all of whom receive content from multiple publishers. The recommendations cover things like including a manifest (list of files), contents of the manifest, file naming conventions, etc.

Speaking of receiving content from multiple sources, I went to a session on data cleanup that included a presentation by Amy Rudersdorf of the Digital Public Library of America. She described a new ingestion system the DPLA is using, aptly called Heiðrún. Rudersdorf explained that “Heiðrún” refers to a mythical goat who would eat anything and produce mead.

I attended a good presentation on leadership by Susan Massey from the University of North Florida. Massey said to think of the organization chart as a hanging mobile, and when one piece is out of balance it affects all the other pieces above and below it. She discussed some of the character traits of a good leader: trustworthiness, fairness, integrity, loyalty. She said leaders should be real & transparent, communicate openly, model mature response to crises, etc. She also encouraged service leadership, seeing that those you supervise have the resources necessary for their jobs, helping them excel in their jobs, and knowing and helping them achieve their goals.

In the exhibit hall I met a few vendor reps face-to-face for the first time. I also joined Lauren and Jeff in meeting with two vendors at the same time to try to iron out some e-book data problems. I think we may have finally gotten through to at least one of the people we needed to get through to. I also got some questions answered, learned about some upcoming database enhancements, etc.

Susan at ALA 2015 in San Francisco

Thursday, July 2, 2015 10:58 am

Moscone Center

Moscone Center, site of ALA Annual 2015

This year’s ALA Annual conference took place in a popular destination location, on the weekend following the historic decision from the Supreme Court on the right for same-sex marriage. Add to this that it was the annual Pride parade weekend and there were close to 20,000 librarians in town and you can imagine how high the energy level was in San Francisco! I felt so fortunate that I was able to witness the thousands who came out to celebrate “Love is Love” at Sunday’s parade.

San Francisco Pride Parade

“Love Won” newspaper headline from the San Francisco Chronicle during the Pride Parade

The parade was a highlight, but the conference itself provided plenty of interesting moments as well. This past spring I was elected to a 3-year term as a Director-at-Large for LITA (Library Information and Technology Association). Although I’ve been involved with LITA for many years in a variety of roles, I will be serving on the Board for the next 3 years. So my LITA education began at this conference. I attended the board meetings as a guest and took part in an orientation session to help us new board members get up to speed. I discovered there is quite a bit of background reading to help me learn about the organization, including a manual and the bylaws. I attended LITA’s main program day on Sunday that includes the popular Top Tech Trends panel discussion and the President’s Program, which featured a conversation with Lou Rosenfeld,co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web.

The top trends highlighted by the panel included

  • scalable internal connectivity (think about all those mobile devices connecting simultaneously)
  • interesting applications for RFID (example – Art Library in Switzerland that uses it for a daily inventory)
  • open source software
  • free, ubiquitous internet access in cities
  • cross-sector collaboration with purpose to improve services
  • ILS bloat
  • renaissance of podcasting
  • innovation communities founded around the library

Rosenfeld discussed his work with UX (user experience) and one of the interesting concepts that I learned about was the “short head.” We all know about the “long tail” but not so much about the short head attached to it! This term refers to the figure that is shown on the Zipf curve pictured below (comes from Zipf’s Law). The figure shows the most frequently searched terms on the left, and these make up the “short head.” Rosenfeld uses this curve to demonstrate how to use the law when tuning your website.

Zipf Curve from Louis Rosenfeld

Zipf Curve from Louis Rosenfeld

With my increased committee involvement, I didn’t have as much time to attend a variety of program sessions, but I managed to select at least one from most of my main areas of responsibility:

Digital Scholarship IG Discussion. I’m certain that Chelcie will give a more granular report for this session, but it was a good program that featured Joan Lippincott from CNI who presented Trends in digital scholarship centers: a view from CNI. She described findings from CNI’s work on trends in digital scholarship centers and her own observations from interviews and on-site visits. One of the main sources of data came from a workshop CNI conducted in April 2014 that involved 35 participants from 24 institutions and resulted in a report published in December. Also presenting were two people from NYU’s Digital Scholarship Services, which has some resemblance to what we are doing at ZSR. They don’t have a specific physical space and pull people in as needed to provide their services.

Creating Impactful Assessment Reports. This program, sponsored by LLAMA, was a panel discussion. The new dean for UNCC, Anne Cooper Moore, was joined by two librarians from Florida State University (Julia Zimmerman, Dean and University Librarian and Kirsten Kinsley, Assessment Librarian). The format of the session was for the panel to field questions relating to leveraging assessment reports to be effective tools to present to stakeholders. Julia noted that most stakeholders are busy people and long reports don’t get read, so she recommended executive summaries as key. Here are some other recommendations:

  • Use both qualitative and quantitative data to tell the narrative.
  • Individual quotes from people have impact.
  • There is a tie between assessment and marketing.
  • Data visualizations should be clear, colorful and should stand apart from the text.

An interesting discussion took place about what sort of assessment personnel different libraries have. Many have a single assessment librarian but who that person reports to is all over the map. There was an opinion from the panel that the most effective reporting line is to the library dean. There was also a consensus that having a committee in place either as a stand alone (if there isn’t a designated assessment position) or to supplement the assessment librarian is a good idea. It helps to have more eyes on the data and to get different perspectives.

Library of the Future: the Learning Optimized Library. This presentation was given by Steelcase. The speaker, Mark Walters, gave an overview on the company’s research on human behavior in libraries and provided examples of how to design for the tensions that have emerged between learning activities and space design (of course, using their furniture as the examples of solutions! Two new products that caught my interest are the Brody and the Thread). Mark is with the Education division at Steelcase, which launched in 2008. More than once he referenced an article by Scott Bennett on the changing roles of libraries that was published in 2009 (Muse title, restricted to subscribers). He described the methodology of their observational study which included time spent at 20 libraries. They have a living lab at Grand Valley State and this video shows what they’ve done there. The main thrust of their recommendations is to plan in zones with realistic adjacencies that take into account the concept of “alone together” and spanning from private to public:

Informal Learning Matrix

Informal Learning Matrix

Findings include:

  • Learning is social, but it takes many forms
  • Deep thinking requires blocking out distractions (both visual and sound)
  • Technology is ubiquitous so there are issues of infrastructure (the whole outlet thing) and ergonomics
  • Spaces have different rhythms of behavior

If any of these short narratives have caught your interest, I have more detailed notes I’ll be glad to share. As usual, I’ll close with a link to all the photos I took while I was out and about in San Francisco.

Heading to Coit Tower

View of Bay Near Coit Tower

Chelcie at ALA Annual 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014 4:27 pm

Despite the exotic setting in Vegas, for me this summer’s ALA felt very routine in that I attended all my old standby sessions — ACRL Digital Curation Interest Group, ACRL Digital Humanities Interest Group, and programs sponsored by the ALCTS CAMMS Metadata Interest Group, among others.

Digital Humanities and Academic Libraries: Practice and Theory, Power and Privilege

My favorite session of the conference — scratch that, my favorite ALA session of all time — was a program titled Digital Humanities and Academic Libraries: Practice and Theory, Power and Privilege organized by the ACRL Women and Gender Studies Section. The session did a fabulous job of collapsing the distinction between theory and practice; rather, thinking deeply about how the digital humanities are practiced “increases our ability to partner with and be valued on our campuses.” During this program I experimented with taking notes on Twitter—both because it enabled me to participate in a broader conversation (inside the conference center room and beyond) and because live tweeting forced me to think about to think about what I found most meaningful rather than simply transcribing. A few tweets that capture the program’s most memorable talking points are below.

ALCTS PARS Preservation Metadata Interest Group

As co-chair of the ALCTS PARS Preservation Metadata Interest Group, I was sad to bid goodbye to outgoing co-chair Sarah Potvin (Digital Scholarship Librarian at Texas A&M University) and delighted to meet incoming co-chair Drew Krewer (Digitization Operations Librarian at the University of Houston). I feel really grateful to collaborate with such wonderful people, whom I wouldn’t get to know so well without sharing these service responsibilities.

The program that Sarah and I developed focused on the use of the BitCurator tool to generate preservation metadata for born-digital materials. (I wrote at greater length about BitCurator in an earlier post.) We experimented somewhat with the format of the program in the hopes of facilitating a dialogue between BitCurator developers and current BitCurator users as well as those considering incorporating BitCurator into their workflows for processing born-digital materials. The format of our program was an in-depth overview of BitCurator from its PI Cal Lee, as well as two lightning talks from current BitCurator users, Jarrett M. Drake (Princeton University) and Rebecca Russell and Amanda Focke (Rice University). Many of the people who are on the ground using BitCurator to acquire disk images and generate metadata are SAA-goers rather than ALA-goers, but our program exposed preservation administrators to a helpful tool from the perspective of its builders and its users at more than one institution. Afterward more than one person who was in attendance expressed interest in joining the recently announced BitCurator Consortium. Fabulous slides from all the presenters are available in the Preservation Metadata Interest Group’s space on ALA Connect.

Discussion with Digitization Equipment Vendors

I valued the opportunity to speak in person with representatives of the Crowley Company (distributor of Zeutschel overhead scanners) and Atiz (maker of the BookDrive). I got a clearer idea of various models’ technical specifications and list prices, which is helpful information to tuck away for future reference.

Favorite Publishers in the Exhibit Hall

Like many people, I find the exhibit hall overwhelming, but since I’ve started going to ALA I’ve been on a quest to find my favorite small press publishers so that I know exactly which booths to visit for the best literary fiction and non-fiction of the coming year. I like visiting the smaller publishers because often the marketing staff in the booth are actually the people who did editorial work on the titles they’re promoting, so they speak from a place of deep knowledge and love when they share their favorite new works. This was the first year when I’ve felt as though I’ve found the presses that most appeal to me — Coffee House Press, The New Press, NYRB, Workman Publishing, and SoHo Press — so I’m totally indulging myself and sharing all of my favorite finds below. I hauled them all back to my office to create a tiny library of things to read during lunch, so drop by if you’d like to borrow any. I’m curious to hear from others, too. What are your go to booths for books for personal reading at ALA?

My favorite finds from the Exhibit Hall at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Vegas

Above: My favorite finds from the Exhibit Hall at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Vegas.

Sarah at ALA Annual 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014 1:30 pm

I had a busy year on the Executive Board of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), which is a non-profit affiliate of ALA. I organized two APALA events in conjunction with the ALA Annual Conference including a fundraising event with a tour of Zappos corporate headquarters and the community-focused Downtown Project. Over 30 people attended including Hu Womack, who wrote a great summary! I also organized the venue for the Asian/Pacific American Literature Awards Banquet, which had over 50 attendees. The 2013-2014 APALA Literature Award recipients are the following:

Picture Book Winner: Ji-li Jiang. Red Kite, Blue Kite. Disney/Hyperion.

Picture Book Honor: Marissa Moss. Barbed Wire Baseball, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu. Abrams.

Children’s Literature Winner: Cynthia Kadohata. The Thing About Luck. Atheneum Books.

Children’s Literature Honor: Josanne La Valley. The Vine Basket. Clarion Books.

Young Adult Literature: Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani. Jet Black and the Ninja Wind. Tuttle Publishing.

Young Adult Literature Honor: Suzanne Kamata. Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible. GemmaMedia.

Adult Fiction Winner: Ruth Ozeki. A Tale for the Time Being. Viking.

Adult Fiction Honor: Jennifer Cody Epstein. The Gods of Heavenly Punishment. W. W. Norton.

Adult Non-Fiction Winner: Cindy I-Fen Cheng. Citizens of Asian America: Democracy and Race during the Cold War. New York University Press.

Adult Non-Fiction Honor Book: Cecilia M. Tsu. Garden of the World: Asian Immigrants and the Making of Agriculture in California’s Santa Clara Valley. Oxford University Press.

I’ve also been active in the ACRL Science & Technology Section since 2004, and was reappointed to the STS Continuing Education Committee for another 2-year term. This committee coordinates the STS Mentoring Program, and I manage the Guide to Professional Development Resources for Science Librarians. The best science program that I attended was hosted by the STS College Science Librarians Discussion Group, and I shared about my work in bioinformatics. I received encouragement from my fellow STS colleagues about my efforts in the bioinformatics area. I’m also grateful to an STS colleague who encouraged me to become a conference organizer of the first Science Boot Camp Southeast, which is next week!


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